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Friday, April 10, 2009

Spotlight on Marlo Schalesky and If Tomorrow Never Comes

Ok, I apologize to my regular book spotlight readers. If you read the post from Monday, you'll know I've been rather preoccupied with my brand new daughter. She was 1 week old yesterday, and it's a challenge to get back into the swing of things. I try to work ahead, but got behind. :)

So, here is Wednesday's spotlight. And I promise as soon as I can, I'll get around to selecting the winners from the outstanding spotlights. Thanks for your patience.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARLO SCHALESKY is the award winning author of seven books, including her latest novel, If Tomorrow Never Comes, which combines a love story with a surprise ending twist to create a new type of novel that she hopes will impact readers at their deepest levels. Marlo's other books include Beyond the Night, Veil of Fire, and Empty Womb, Aching Heart--Hope and Help for Those Struggling with Infertility.

She's had over 600 articles published in various Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, Today's Christian Woman, Decision, Moody Magazine, and Discipleship Journal. She has contributed to Dr. Dobson's Night Light Devotional for Couples, Tyndale's Book of Devotions for Kids #3, and Discipleship Journal's 101 Small Group Ideas. She is a speaker and a regular columnist for Power for Living.

Marlo is also a California native, a small business owner, and a graduate of Stanford University (with a B.S. in Chemistry!). In addition, she has earned her Masters in Theology, with an emphasis in Biblical Studies, from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Marlo lives with her husband and five young children in a log home in Central California. When she's not changing diapers, doing laundry, or writing books, Marlo loves sipping Starbucks white mochas, reading the New Testament in Greek, and talking about finding the deep places of God in the disappointments of life.

IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES
by Marlo Schalesky
Published by Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishers, a division of Random House

ABOUT THE BOOK

They say you should reach for your dreams.
This time, they're wrong...

Childhood sweethearts Kinna and Jimmy Henley had simple dreams—marriage, children, a house by the sea...everything they needed for happily ever after. What they didn't plan on was years of infertility, stealing those dreams, crushing their hopes.

Now, all that's left is the memory of young love, and the desperate need for a child to erase the pain. Until...

Kinna rescues an elderly woman from the sea, and the threads of the past, present, and future weave together to reveal the wonder of one final hope. One final chance to follow not their dreams, but God's.

Can they embrace the redemptive power of love before it's too late? Or will their love be washed away like the castles they once built upon the sand? The past whispers to the present. And the future shivers. What if tomorrow never comes?

Buy Your Copy of If Tomorrow Never Comes today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

It began with a single image that popped powerfully into my mind – an old man, walking along a foggy beach at dawn, bending to pick up an old locket from the sand. The rest of the story grew from there. The funny thing is, when you read the book, you’ll find that Kinna finds the locket, not an old man. But originally the image of the locket in the sand was so intriguing to me that I kept thinking about it until a story began to develop. After that, I drew on my personal experience with infertility to fill out the story and create the drama. But what kept me writing was the character of Thea, an old woman pulled from the sea, and the twist that comes at the book’s end.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

I’ve spent most of my adult life – 20 years – dealing with infertility and miscarriage. I’ve had some successes along the way, and whole lot of failure, disappointment and pain. I’ve had surgeries, drugs, IUI’s, IVF’s, FET’s, you name it.

So, as far as the book’s plot-line goes - what happens to the characters and how they’re changed and challenged through the book - that is uniquely Kinna & Jimmy’s story. Kinna’s quirk of spelling out words when she wants to emphasize them – that’s hers. Jimmy’s love of construction equipment – that’s his. But the emotions, the fears, the questions of infertility that they face are things I drew from my own experience.

The longing for a baby that seems like it will never be fulfilled. I’ve been there. Month after month of trying and failing. Turning into year after year. I’ve been there. Frustration. Doubt. Wondering how God could possibly love me in the midst of this. Been there. Having to pry my white-knuckled fingers off my own hopes and dreams. Been there. Choosing to love anyway. Choosing to believe anyway. Choosing to trust God anyway. Been there.

It seems that just about every deep and meaningful thing I’ve learned about God, I can point to my journey through infertility and say, “Yeah, infertility taught me that.” It taught me that I’m not the god of my life. God is. It taught me there are things I cannot control, cannot achieve, no matter how hard I try. And sometimes we must choose to live the life God has given us, with love and hope, even when it’s not the life we dreamed.

Because infertility taught me that God calls us not to the pursuit of our dreams, but to love. “Love one another,” Jesus says. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” God taught me that through the journey of my own infertility. My hope is that If Tomorrow Never Comes will reveal the same truths to others as well.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

I have to do Thea for this one, even though she isn’t the main character, because she’s definitely praline – sweet, creamy, and a little bit nutty. She has a very distinctive flavor!

4. Are there any themes in If Tomorrow Never Comes that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

Our culture tells us that we can do anything we set our minds to, we can accomplish any dream...and we should. “Reach for your dreams,” we say, as if that is the highest goal of humankind. Success posters (and platitudes) abound.

But all my years of infertility and miscarriage have taught me that we are not the gods of our lives. There are things we cannot control, no matter how hard we try.

Perhaps that is why God calls us not to the pursuit of our dreams, but to love. “Love one another,” Jesus exhorts in John 13:34-35, and also gives, as the second greatest commandment, the exhortation to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18, and all 3 Synoptics)

So, in our Grasp-Your-Dreams culture, my hope is that this book will stand against the tide, calling people instead to the way of love – to the way of laying down their lives for others instead of clutching their own dreams and plans.

I hope readers will be inspired to fight for their marriages with sacrificial love, and will be challenged to look to the future for the rewards of loving sacrificially, and to the past to remember the seeds of real love.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Strangely enough, the hardest parts to write were the parts that dealt with the struggle and pain of infertility. I thought those would be the easiest since I’m so intimately familiar with that journey. But I found it hard to revisit all those feelings and the difficult parts of the journey.

My favorite parts to write were the short scenes where Thea (her name is short for Aletheia, the Greek word for Truth), was the point-of-view character. Thea is the old woman whom Kinna rescues from drowning in chapter one. Throughout the story, all the reader knows is that Thea is there for a reason – she has a purpose in Kinna & Jimmy’s lives. With wry humor and odd confrontations, she steers Jimmy & Kinna toward reconciliation and one another. She helps them to remember their past love story.

What I like best about her is her humor mixed with mystery. She’s just fun. :) She thinks she’s in a dream, and doesn’t want to become some crazy old lady with a houseful of cats. But despite her doubts, she chooses to care about Jimmy and Kinna and help them, no matter what. She chooses well, and as it turns out, that makes all the difference, for them, and for her too.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Shades of Morning is scheduled to release in May 2010. It’s my third “love story with a twist,” and I’m enjoying the figuring out the characters and plot. For those who read If Tomorrow Never Comes, watch for Marnie, the quirky owner of the coffeeshop and bookstore, who will be the main character in Shades of Morning. Here’s a bit about it:

Marnie has her life just where she wants it. At least that’s what she tells herself-–her past is hidden, her regrets locked tightly in a box on her shelf, and her bookstore and coffeeshop business is booming. No one knows what she’s done, who she’s been. That is, until the man she once loved finds her again and brings startling news – she’s now the guardian of her 15-year-old nephew, a boy she never knew existed. And to make matters worse, when the boy arrives, she discovers he has Down Syndrome. The past collides with the present, the box of regrets is exposed, and Marnie’s world shattered and rebuilt through the love of one special boy who makes all things new.

* * * * *

Thank you, Marlo, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of If Tomorrow Never Comes.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

6 comments:

windycindy said...

This books sounds outstanding!
Please enter me in your drawing.
Many thanks.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Marlo Schalesky said...

Thanks to all who stop by and read my interview. I'm so pleased to be able to connect with you all through Amber's blog! And big congrts to Amber on the birth of the new little one -- YAY!

Blessings! And may your day be filled with wondrous reading and glimspses of a breath-taking God!

Blessed Easter to all!
:-) Marlo

Linda said...

A very heart-breaking dilemma for those who want children. Would be a great book to share with others once I read it. Please add me to your contest.

desertrose at gmail dot com

WELCOME BACK AMBER!

Carolynn W. said...

I would love to read this story, thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:

CAROLYNN

Congratulations! I have sent your information to Jill so she can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Oops! Make that MARLO, not Jill. LOL!